The M1's made a winning return to National League hockey after an absence of eleven years with a 5-2 win over Fareham on Sunday. The fixture rekindled old rivalries between the two clubs in the South Premier League going back to the 1980’s and it was Hawks who drew first blood in the new era when Jack Biggs converted a penalty stroke after nine minutes after a penalty corner was stopped on the goal line by a Fareham foot. Both sides probed for openings in a fairly evenly contested first half but it was Hawks who finally gained the upper hand when Andy Watts finished off a fine open play move after twenty five minutes to extend Hawks’ advantage. A lapse in Hawks’ defensive concentration allowed Fareham to reduce the arrears four minutes before half time and worse was to follow when Fareham converted a penalty corner five minutes after the half time break to level the scores at 2-2. Hawks bogged themselves down in a poor period of play by turning the ball over cheaply far too often and for a ten minute spell Fareham looked the more likely team to score the next goal. But Hawks rode the storm and their luck and finished by far the stronger of the two sides as Fareham tired in the final quarter of the game. Kit Cutter showed great determination to get on the end of a brisk Hawks move on sixty one minutes to put Hawks’ noses in front again and a worked penalty corner move four minutes later saw Andy Watts give Hawks some breathing space. Watts then completed his hattrick with three minutes left to play to secure the points. With nine new players in their squad, Hawks will take some time before they get fully up to speed but there were encouraging signs that there is more to come.
Thanks to Vicki Hearn for the photos.